EDITORIAL: Remember us, Sen. Toomey?
- Sen. Pat Toomey has been the focus of much online speculation lately
- And among other interests, he was an architect of the failed Senate GOP health bill
- How about coming home and talking face-to-face with all, even if they disagree with you?
Sen. Pat Toomey has had a busy year.
He's also done a few things that show that he is thinking about more than the straight GOP agenda, including working with Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., on the Banking Restrictions Involving North Korea (BRINK) Act to shore up sanctions against North Korea in the face of that country's nuclear tests.
He even introduced with Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., a bipartisan resolution condemning Chechnya officials' abduction, torture and killing of men suspected to be gay.
Both of those pieces of legislation are in committee.
And then there's the biggest item on his agenda: the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which Toomey and a handful of other Republican senators wrote in a couple of weeks to replace the Affordable Care Act, which was written over a period of months and with considerably more input from health experts and members of Congress.
Toomey and Co.'s Senate Better Care Reconciliation Act didn't turn out well for the GOP, you might recall.
Toomey's statement on his vote to begin debate on repealing "Obamacare" on July 25 did really well on Twitter, with 37 retweets and 102 likes. And, oh yeah, 870 comments.
Some of the highlights:
► "You're a spineless hack. The overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians want the #ACA. You are a liar. I will do what I can to vote you out": @WordLuscious
► "Shame on you, @SenToomey, for moving forward on a bill that has no CBO score. Your constituents' lives are on the line. Pack your bags.": @manicoreganic
► "You're a monster. You just signed a death note for a lot of your constituents. Disgusting.": @stephan13leigh
Since the election, there have been constant complaints about Toomey's responsiveness to his constituents. There's even an activist group devoted to getting Toomey's attention on matters of import to Pennsylvania: Tuesdays with Toomey. That involves planning events at the senator's offices around the state and in D.C. on Tuesdays.
Last year, Toomey was all over the place. He spoke to the Rotary Club at the Yorktowne Hotel in October, even stopped by the Strinestown Fire Co. the week before the election.
But since then, it's been more difficult to see him in person. He visited BAE Systems in West Manchester Township in March. He has held two Facebook town-hall meetings, and last month he spoke on live TV with an audience of invited guests about the health care bill. He didn't speak to the protesters outside the WHTM studio in Harrisburg.
His press secretary, Steve Kelly, points out that Toomey alsohas taken part in forums in Philadelphia and Allentown, and he has met with protest groups at his offices.
But those who have tried to reach out to him by phone to express their thoughts on such topics as the health care bill, ties between Russia and the president and the many other concerns of the day often are connected to voicemail boxes that are full or phones that ring and are never answered, according to many social media posts. And face time with the senator has been limited to those invited guests and people who make appointments.
So, senator, here's a little nudge.
There are 2.95 million Pennsylvanians who voted for you in November and 2.85 million who voted for your opponent, Katie McGinty. In York County, the vote was far more lopsided, with 126,350 votes for Toomey and 69,394 for McGinty.
You, senator, are representing all of those people in Congress, no matter who they voted for. It is your job to listen to them and do what you think is in their best interests.
There have been rumors of open town hall meetings during the upcoming August recess. Even though the recess has been cut short by pressing legislation, those meetings should still be a priority for you and your staff.
Here's hoping we will see you soon.